Just over 12 months ago, the group now known as The Litter Pickers of Johnson Fold was a preliminary idea by the #BoltonLive management team. That idea was to create a new way of keeping estates clean and fostering community spirit and acting as a catalyst for social change

Within it`s first year the fledgling pilot project received a Highly Commended award in the Sparkling Environment category at the 2018 Bolton at Home Community Awards ceremony.

The group’s secretary, Sharon Powell, said:

“It all started as a Bolton Live project. Now we have weekly ‘litter-picks’ on the estate, with adults and children involved, plus our community litter champion households and it has become a community-owned project. More and more people are getting involved and it is definitely making a difference; the estate looks much better.

As well as collecting litter, we have begun a recycling initiative and an education program, funded by Bolton at Home and in association with Bolton Council’s ‘Love Bolton, Hate Litter’ campaign, teaching children and adults about the impact of plastics on the environment and the importance of recycling. We are also working with groups , like the litter pickers of north Bolton who have joined us today to establish more litter picking type groups and help support others.”

Last Saturday saw the second of what the group calls Community Action Days (Or C.A.Ds​ for short). The event saw Music provided by DECK Entertainment , Food provided by Hollands pies and cooked by the Foxes of the Fold Women`s group , Stalls ,  a paid Raffle and the Litter Raffle. The litter raffle is a concept dreamed up by the groups Chair and current Editor of #BoltonLive  Pete Hopkinson. He said-

“The litter raffle is just that little bit different, In exchange for registering with us at our event people are issued kit and sent out to a predetermined area to collect the litter. They bring the litter back to us and we enter them into a prize draw , which , thanks to our amazing sponsors has some very good prizes in the mix”

During the event on Saturday a whopping £142.80 was raised for the group  (which was kindly rounded up to £150 by Body shop by Vicky) and an amazing ninety-six bags of rubbish was cleared from the estate.

The Mayor of Bolton, Councillor Roger Hayes,  rearranged his diary to head down and present the youngest members of the group with framed certificates in recognition of their efforts as ‘ Community Litter Champions’.

Cassie Rushton, The groups treasurer told #BoltonLive

“When we got Highly commended at The Stars of the community awards it was agreed right there and then, minutes after we received our certificate that every child who has been a regular picker with their families should get a certificate and we were fortunate that the mayor managed to rearrange his diary to present the kids with their certificates and the Litter Monitor Badges, They were chuffed to bits. ”

Thanking everyone who contributed or took part, Pete Hopkinson added:

“Today I saw, again, the very best of our estate and I could not be more proud than I am to live here. Every time we run an event on our estate we see the very best in people and a community that is passionate about its people and has true community spirit. you everyone for all of your hard work today and your continuing support of our humble little litter picking project.”

The sponsors for the event were:

Bolton Whites Hotel, Jump Xtreme Trampoline Park, Hollywood Bowl, Kev Gurneys Club Tropicana Live, The Last Drop Village Hotel and Spa, Manchester Midweek Music Club, YogaMindful.co.uk, A Small Good Thing, Bunbury’s, The Coffee Grind, Lashes by Ann Smith, Holland’s Pies and McDonald’s. Litter collecting equipment was provided by Bolton Council and high-visibility jackets by Wilmott Dixon plus additional support from the Johnson Fold Residents association

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